For an estimated population of 3.8 crore, Jharkhand has 531 per million total confirmed COVID-19 cases. The number of tests per million over the past few days has crossed the 10,000-mark.
Almost 16 per cent of the cases are from East Singhbhum district, in which the city of Jamshedpur falls, but it is Ranchi, with almost 20 per cent of the confirmed cases, that tops the list.
The districts with the most number of cases could be a reflection of the testing infrastructure there. Of the 34 facilities for testing in the state, 32 government and two private ones, Jamshedpur has two major hospitals, and Ranchi too. In most of the other districts the testing is being conducted in the district hospitals. Dhanbad, Hazirbag and Palamu are the only other big urban centres that have medical colleges too. The Military Hospital in Ranchi too is conducting tests, but only CB-NAAT. Giridih district is the exception. Nevertheless, East Singhbhum’s cases seem to be reducing over the past couple of weeks, while Ranchi’s numbers seem to be growing steeply.
The deaths in East Singhbhum are significantly higher than the next highest district, with the former having almost 40 per cent fatalities and the latter about 16 per cent. Dhanbad and Hazaribag are the other districts that have witnessed significant fatalities too.
If one looks at the logarithmic chart as well, which is adjusted when each district got its first hundredth case, Ranchi seems to be growing fast. While Ranchi got its first hundredth case on May 14, which if we consider as zero, East Singhbum district got its first hundredth case only 17 days later. Dhanbad took 25 days, while Giridih reached its hundredth patient 50 days after Ranchi. Hazaribagh took 22 days and Palamu 62.
Jharkhand’s battle against the novel coronavirus looks really bad when you look at the testing numbers compared with other states.
The number of cases to the number tests shows that in the past week, the number of tests conducted were significantly less, but the number of cases confirmed in fact went up from 5,027 the previous week to 5,369 in the past seven days, August 6 to August 12.
In some districts like Giridih, for instance, which has about 1,066 confirmed cases as of August 12, almost 90 per cent of the cases have recovered, with 106 active cases currently. Ranchi has seen the most patients recovered, with about 2,000 cases, but in most cases the rate of recovery is just about 50 per cent. On the other hand, more than 60 per cent of the cases in the district are still active in East Singhbum.
Jharkhand’s low testing rate makes it virtually impossible to understand the extent of the spread of the novel coronavirus. However important it is that a number of the chief minister’s staff have tested positive, the real focus should be on ensuring ramping up of the testing infrastructure and the overall health infrastructure in this resource-rich state.